Unleashing the Roar: A STEAM Symposium in Celebration of the Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary 

The Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary STEAM Symposium encourages high school students to venture into science, technology, and media careers.

November 9-12, 2023, marked an extraordinary gathering of over 300 TRIO pre-college students at the heart of excitement and innovation – the Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary STEAM Symposium. Hosted by the Council for Opportunity in Education, in collaboration with Comcast NBCUniversal, this event celebrated education, STEAM, and the enduring legacy of the Jurassic Park film. The festivities unfolded at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.

The symposium kicked off with a bang as attendees were greeted by the President of COE, Kimberly Jones; Comcast’s Senior Vice President of Sales & Multicultural Shared Services, Marge Jackson; and Broderick Johnson, Comcast’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Executive Vice President of Digital Equity; along with an unexpected surprise – a laptop giveaway. 

“Don’t limit your imagination this weekend. This is just the first step for so many of you…we need your talent. We need your energy, we need your passion, your enthusiasm. I am so excited, and I am so proud of you in advance,” said Kimberly Jones. 

In a world where access to technology is paramount for academic success, this gesture aimed to empower the students on their educational journey. More than just devices, the laptops symbolize Comcast’s commitment to bridging the digital divide and fostering opportunities and access to higher education. 

The weekend-long symposium featured a panel of TRIO alumnae showcasing their success in STEM fields. These inspiring narratives demonstrated the transformative power of education and mentorship, illustrating that the TRIO community is not just a network but a family that supports its members long after graduation. 

The event also featured a vibrant college and career fair, offering a plethora of opportunities and insights. Representatives from universities, corporations, and STEM-focused organizations engaged with the students, providing valuable information and opening doors to potential academic and professional pathways some had never heard of, such as rollercoaster engineering and tourism in space.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the festivities continued with a private dessert reception at the iconic Jurassic Park Islands of Adventure. Against the backdrop of towering dinosaurs and lush landscapes, students enjoyed cookies, sundaes, Jurassic-themed macaroons, and the opportunity to have private access to park rides, including the award-winning VelociCoaster. 

The symposium concluded with STEM rollercoaster programming, merging education with adrenaline. Participants had the chance to explore and lean into the science behind rollercoaster engineering, combining theoretical knowledge with hands-on experiences. 

A highlight for many students was the panel discussing the creation of the VelociCoaster. Experts such as Dionte Henderson, Senior Manager, Ride/Show Engineers; Gregory Hall, Creative Director; and Shelby Honea, Director and Executive Producer, shared insights into the massive project. All emphasized the importance of STEAM in bringing the VelociCoaster to life. 

The Jurassic World STEAM Symposium was more than just an event; it was a testament to the power of education, imagination, and community. Pictures from the symposium are available online. Click here to learn more about COE’s STEAM initiatives or the Comcast NBCUniversal partnership.  

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